What Beginners Should Know About a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet
The whole food plant-based diet has popularized in the last decade as research and personal stories continue to reveal incredible health benefits (weight loss, disease prevention and reversal, eliminating the mid-day slump, etc.) tied to this diet. More than a fad diet, whole food plant-based eating has proved to be a sustainable lifestyle that is easy to implement and manage for people of all ages with varying health conditions.
So what is a whole-food, plant-based diet?
With the long list of existing diets, it’s important to define what we mean by a whole food plant-based diet. A whole food plant-based diet is simply a diet with whole, unrefined, or unprocessed ingredients that are sourced from plants, not animal products. By implementing a whole food plant-based diet you can know beyond your health results (added mental clarity, energy, disease prevention, etc.), that the foods you are eating are whole, nutrient-rich foods, that promote healthy living for your whole family.
Not all plant-based foods are created equal
The quality of plant-sourced food matters. Refined and processed plant-based foods can increase health risks. A true whole food plant-based diet eliminates oils and highly processed ingredients, ensuring you rely on nutrient-dense foods over refined carbohydrates and highly processed foods.
The common food groups in a whole food plant-based diet include:
- Nuts & seeds
- Whole grains
- Animal products
- Highly-processed foods
Benefits of a whole-food plant-based diet
Diet is a key component to living a healthy lifestyle. The foods we eat nourish our bodies and become the energy we rely on throughout the day. Many people don’t pay attention to their health or diet until something is wrong. A sudden diagnosis or prolonged health issues may spark an honest evaluation of diet choices. But what we often forget is diet is directly linked to disease prevention. Whether you currently manage a health condition or are in good health, what you eat today will inevitably dictate your health in the coming days, months, and years.
“If you change your diet, and do it very vigorously, you have enormous power. You can reverse heart disease. You can prevent it.”
-Neal Barnard, MD, FACC, President, Physicians Committee
According to the American Heart Association, half of adult Americans have cardiovascular heart disease. That’s a staggering statistic. The whole food plant-based diet has proven to prevent and even reverse heart disease. Other health benefits from a whole food plant-based diet include:
- Increased mental clarity
- Increased energy
- Healthy weight loss
- Increased focus
- Lowered cholesterol & blood pressure
- Reduced Inflammation
- Reduced risk of a stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer
How to start the whole food, plant-based diet
The good news is that you are in control of your own health. The food choices you make each day impact your future self and your future health. Getting started on a whole food plant-based diet is easier than you might think.
Start by incorporating more whole food plant-based ingredients in your meals. Incorporating weekly meal plans make the whole food plant-based diet convenient, stress-free, and easy to add into your routine. There are also many whole food plant-based recipes to give you a great place to start!